Cannabis legalization could bring Arizona $48M annually

If Arizona officials want an extra $48 million a year, they should legalize marijuana.

That’s how much the state stands to make if it winds up legalizing recreational sales, according to a recent report by the Arizona assembly’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

The report was prompted by a handful of Democrats who have been tossing around the notion of legalization, according to the Phoenix New Times. Though a bill to that end was introduced in April, it died unceremoniously in a Republican-controlled committee.

The measure, similar to laws that have passed in states like Colorado and Washington, would have legalized rec sales to anyone 21 and older, and would have tacked on a $50-an-ounce sales tax.

The legislative report estimated that there are about 543,000 regular cannabis users in Arizona, with a demand for around 2.6 million ounces a year, though the report only banked on around 950,000 ounces being sold. With a $50 tax, that comes out to $47.5 million. Add business licensing fees to that, and the state income could easily jump another few hundred thousand.

New Times speculates that another legislative attempt may be made to legalize marijuana at the state Capitol next year. Either way, Arizona is one of several states that the Marijuana Policy Project is targeting for a 2016 ballot measure, hoping to build on the successes in Oregon and Alaska this year.